A Los Angeles jury convenes on Tuesday for a third day of deliberations in the sexual assault trial of former movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who awaits a verdict as he is already serving time in prison for a conviction for rape in New York.
Weinstein is accused of using his Hollywood influence to lure women into private meetings and assault them. In Los Angeles, he faces two counts of forcible rape and five counts of sexual assault involving four women – a model, a dancer, a massage therapist and a producer. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him.
Monday at the end of the day, the jurors had deliberated for more than six hours without a verdict.
If the jury finds Weinstein guilty, the 70-year-old former movie producer could face 60 years to life in prison, plus an additional five years.
Midway through the trial, four of the original 11 charges against Weinstein related to a fifth Jane Doe were dropped without explanation.
The week-long trial included testimony from the four accusers identified as Jane Does in court, and dozens of witnesses, including experts, law enforcement, friends of the accusers and former Weinstein aides.
Additionally, four women testified to having been victims of similar incidents by Weinstein in other jurisdictions.
During their testimony, all of the accusers were asked to recount the details of their allegations against Weinstein, provide details of meetings with the producer years ago and explain their reactions to the alleged assaults.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom, filmmaker and wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom – identified by her lawyers as Jane Doe 4 – has alleged Weinstein raped her in a hotel room in 2005.
In her closing arguments Wednesday, Assistant Los Angeles County District Attorney Marlene Martinez called Weinstein a “titan” who used his power in Hollywood to prey on women and silence them.
“The rapists rape. You can look at the model,” fellow prosecutor Paul Thompson told jurors.
“You have irrefutable, overwhelming evidence of what this man was and what he did to these women,” Thompson said.
Meanwhile, Weinstein’s lawyers have argued the allegations were either fabricated or produced consensually in a “transactional relationship” with the film producer, repeatedly claiming there was no evidence of aggression.
Defense attorney Alan Jackson called the accusers “seekers of fame and fortune”.
Weinstein is already serving a 23-year sentence after being convicted of a criminal sex act and third-degree rape at a 2020 trial in New York. His lawyers appealed the conviction.
Every morning during his trial in Los Angeles, Weinstein was brought from a correctional facility and brought into the courtroom wearing a suit and tie and holding a composition notebook.
His accusers all began their often moving testimonies by identifying him in the courtroom as he looked on.
“He’s wearing a suit and a blue tie and he’s looking at me,” Siebel Newsom said last month, ahead of what was some of the most moving testimony heard by jurors during the trial.
On Thursday, defense attorney Jackson asked jurors if they could ‘take what (the Jane Do) said as gospel’, arguing that what they said was a lack of forensic evidence at the support for their assertion.
“Five words that sum up the entire prosecution case: ‘Trust me at my word,'” Jackson said. “’Take my word that he showed up in my hotel room unannounced. Take my word for it, I showed up at his hotel room. Take my word for it, I didn’t consent. Take my word for it, I said no.
Siebel Newsom described an hour-long ‘cat and mouse period’ leading up to his alleged assault. She, like other accusers, described feeling “frozen” that day.
Weinstein’s attorneys don’t deny the incident, but said he believes it was consensual.
Jackson called the incident “consensual and transactional sex,” adding, “Regret is not the same as rape. And it’s important that we make that distinction in this courtroom.
Women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing Jane Doe 2 in the case, told CNN she hopes the jury will see that her client “has no reason to do anything but tell the truth. “.
“She has never asked for or received compensation…She no longer lives in California. But she testifies because she was asked to testify and I hope they see her as the young woman she was when she met Harvey Weinstein, and the woman she is today about nine to ten years later. Her life changed,” Allred said.
“Be prepared to submit to what could be a very brutal cross-examination. It takes a very special person to do that. And she is a special person. I’m very proud,” Allred said.
In her closing arguments, Martinez also pointed out that the women who testified chose to do so despite knowing they would face difficult conditions in court.
“The truth is, while you’re sitting here, we know the despicable behavior of the defendant. He thought he was so powerful that people…would excuse his behavior,” Martinez said. “It’s just that Harvey is Harvey. It’s just Hollywood. And for so long, that’s what everyone did. Everyone just turned their heads.